The world we live in has many people suffering. Some are suffering because they don’t have enough food to eat, others because they don’t have enough clothes or shelter to protect them from the elements. There are others who have food, clothes and shelter yet they still suffer because they or a close friend or a relative has a serious illness. Or maybe someone close died and they suffer with grief. Or maybe there is abuse inflicted on them. The list goes on as to the many ways people can suffer.
Sometimes a person needs someone to sit down with them and listen as they tell of their problems.
With all this suffering, many people ask why does a loving God allow people to suffer?
Suffering teaches us
The Apostle Paul suffered a lot in his life but he saw that it had great value.
We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans Ch.5:3-4)
Jesus also learned through his suffering.
Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. (Hebrews Ch.5:8)
These same principles apply to us. If we want to learn and develop our character we must endure any suffering which we may have to face.
Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. (2 Thessalonians 1:4-5)
During our life we will have times of happiness and times of suffering. In the times of suffering, we can make a choice to either reject God or take it as an opportunity from God to learn through suffering. Why not learn and develop your character!
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James Ch.1:2-4)
The discipline of God through suffering
Sometimes we suffer because God is disciplining us.
My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. (Proverbs Ch.3:11-12)
Should misfortune fall on us, accept it as part of God’s love. It is sometimes easy to brush off suffering and bear through the problem without giving due consideration to the purpose of trial. Maybe God is trying to open our eyes and guide us along the correct paths.
And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
“My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." (Hebrews Ch.12:5-6)
Time and chance
Quite often in our lives good and bad things will just happen by chance.
I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
When things happen by chance it gives us numerous opportunities to learn about God’s wisdom.
When God does intervene in our lives then we should feel blessed and know that God is in control.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans Ch.8:28)
Helping others who are suffering
During our lives we will come across others who are suffering. A wife may have lost her husband, a son or daughter may have lost a parent, someone may have lost a dear friend. So what can we do to help in this situation? Probably the best thing we can do is listen quietly as they tell you what pain they are going through. Just make sure you are there when they need you.
Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galations Ch.6:2)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians Ch.1:3-4)
God heals those in need
God’s presence is often felt in difficult times. We often wish we could escape troubles – the pain of grief, loss, sorrow, and failure. Sometimes it is just the small daily frustrations that constantly wear us down. God promises to be near to those who are suffering.
The Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking; he rescues those who are humbly sorry for their sins. The good man does not escape all troubles – he has them too. But the Lord helps him in each and every one. (Psalm 34:18-19) The Living Bible
God will be a source of power, courage, and wisdom, and to help us through our problems.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)
Will there ever be an end to suffering?
There is a future kingdom promised by God. About this kingdom God says these words:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation Ch.21:3-4)
In God’s kingdom, we will no longer suffer as we do now.